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Deputy Ombudsman scolds Finland over AstraZeneca vaccine rollout

Many places did not offer an alternative to people aged between 65 and 69.

Mika Salminen.
THL Director of Health Security, Mika Salminen. Image: Tommi Pylkkö / Yle

The Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman has criticised Finnish health authorities for the way they continued to roll out the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for people aged 65 to 69 even after side effects became known.

The ruling criticises health authorities for breaching the constitution, discrimination laws and laws on patient safety.

The decision does not mean that those in this age group who received the vaccine are due compensation, however,

"The goal of this ruling is to direct official bodies to do better in future," said Deputy Ombudsman Maija Sakslin.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) had recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine for the age group, even though it was no longer recommended for others after reports of rare cases of unusual blood clotting.

Some municipalities offered those in their late 60s a choice between AstraZeneca and other vaccines, but some did not — prompting a complaint to the Deputy Ombudsman.

THL Director of Health Security Mika Salminen told Yle that he had not read the ruling itself.

"But of course we will humbly receive the reprimand and consider how we can do better in future," said Salminen.

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